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Fanatec CSL DD vs Thrustmaster T300 RS: Which to Choose

Note: This article was previously a comparison of the CSL Elite and T300 RS. However, since Fanatec has now replaced the CSL Elite with the CSL DD, we’ve updated the article to feature the new wheel base.

The Fanatec CSL DD and Thrustmaster T300 RS are great places to start for intermediate sim racing wheels, boasting excellent force feedback and admirable build quality. Although the CSL DD features neither pedals nor a wheel rim, it’s not so obvious which is the better buy.

The Thrustmaster 300 RS is a steal for beginners or those on a tight budget. However, the CSL DD offers direct drive smoothness at an unbeatable price, making it a better purchase for most sim racers in the long run. We reccomend opting for the Boost Kit.

Fanatec CSL DD Boost Kit Fanatec CSL DD Boost Kit
For those with a slightly higher budget, the CSL DD with Boost Kit is definitely the way to go

That said, here’s a full analysis of what each product has to offer, so you can decide for yourself which is best for you.

Technical Specs

CSL DDT300 RS
ROTATION RANGEUnlimited270° to 1080°
DRIVE SYSTEMDirect driveDual-belt brushless
PEDALSNot includedThrottle and brake
MATERIALSAluminium, carbon compositePlastic with rubber grips
DIAMETER OF WHEELN/A28cm

CSL DD vs T300 RS: Build Quality

The gap between these two in terms of build quality is quite dramatic.  Whereas the T300 RS is a sturdy, well-built wheel that is nothing to shake a stick at, its pedal set leaves much to be desired as does the rubbery wheel rim.  On the other side, the CSL DD’s hefty base is made of aluminum with carbon fiber-enhanced composites in the steering axis and end caps. And because it’s direct drive, the internals are less likely to wear with time.

Winner – CSL DD

CSL DD vs T300 RS: Design

Both of these wheels are rather handsome in their design, and their good looks do not in any way detract from their functionality.  While they differ in drive system and various other specifications, neither has a glaring weakness in terms of design.  Both are ready to mount, highly upgradable and highly regarded by users for their ease of use.  It’s worth noting that there are a pair of upgraded versions of the T300 RS – T300 RS GT and T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara Edition – that offer improved pedals, aesthetics and wheel rims at a premium.

Winner – Both

CSL DD vs T300 RS: Force Feedback

Thrustmaster is near universally praised for their strong, reliable force feedback motors in their wheels and the T300 RS is not an exception to that rule.  However, that system is no match for the smooth, responsive, and dynamic direct drive system Fanatec has integrated into the CSL DD. Although the DD’s torque sounds low when compared to other direct drive wheel bases, it’s plenty in comparison to other intermediate steering wheels.

Winner – CSL DD

CSL DD vs T300 RS: Pedals

Out of the box, the T300 RS has an underwhelming, clutchless set of pedals – which does manage to beat the CSL DD technically as it does not come with pedals.  That being said, Fanatec offers an array of great pedals that are plug-and-play compatible – we recommend the conveniently-titled CSL Pedals if you want affordability.  Thrustmaster’s upgraded offerings can be had for very little extra, should you opt for the T300 RS GT. or as part of the more premium T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara Edition.

Winner – T300 RS

CSL DD vs T300 RS: Noise

Both of these wheels have powerful, but relatively quiet motors that don’t make enough noise to garner complaints.  The T300 RS however, tends to make a loud “clack” sound when hitting the ends of its rotation range; the CSL DD remains buttery-smooth and silent for its full range. Not to mention, the CSL DD uses silent, passive cooling whereas the T300 RS uses a fan.

Winner – CSL DD

Other Considerations

As you’ve surely noticed by now, these wheels offer similar functionality that can be dramatically altered by way of upgraded packages and optional add-ons.  As a base product, the CSL DD needs to have a pedal set added in order to go straight to work – whereas the Thrustmaster comes with a pedal set that is perfectly useful but does not have a clutch which sim racing fans will sorely miss if they don’t opt for an upgraded package.

Conclusion

The Thrustmaster T300 RS is a great package that offers great value – especially the GT variant – and is absolutely worth your consideration if you’re on a tight budget.  That said, it can’t quite match the unrivaled build quality, force feedback motor and spec sheet of the CSL DD

Last Updated on July 2, 2021